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Arts & Entertainment

The Secret of Secrets

Dan Brown

Lesson time 02:57 min

Dan provides parting words of wisdom and encouragement and reveals the never-before-seen artifact he promised to share in the first lesson of his class.

Dan Brown
Teaches Writing Thrillers
In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Dan Brown teaches you his step-by-step process for turning ideas into page-turning novels.
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At the beginning of this MasterClass, I made a promise to you. I told you that I would admit something to you that I had never admitted to anyone, and that I would show you an artifact that only I had seen. And of course, we know how important keeping promises is to the storytelling process. So I want to do that now. After I wrote "The Da Vinci Code" and it became so popular, I sat down to write my next novel. And I very quickly discovered that it was much harder than I thought to write when you know that a lot of people are going to read what you've written. It turned out to be a six-year process. And about three years into it, I was really questioning whether or not I could do it. And I decided to try to trick myself into believing that I had already written the book. And I thought this book was going to be called "The Secret of Secrets." And so what I did is I actually created the book. I created an artifact right here, "The Secret of Secrets." What this book is, I'm not even sure what book it is. I just stuck a fake cover on the front of this. I made this on my computer. And every morning, I would sit down and I would hold this book, and I would say, well, I can feel the weight of the book. I can see the book. It actually already exists. All I have to do is write it. And as a little bit of extra impetus, a little bit of extra enthusiasm, I printed a copy of the New York Times bestseller list. And I photoshopped "The Secret of Secrets" into the number one spot trying to convince myself that the book had already been written, had already been published, and was already successful. This was just a trick to get me through that really tough time in writing a novel. And the reason I'm telling you this is that writing a novel is an enormous undertaking, and self-doubt will be part of that process. There will be days you just don't know if you can do it. And on those dates, what is going to save you is your process, your ritual. So if you're just starting to write a novel, go create that process. Go create that ritual. And if you are in the middle of a novel right now, recommit to that ritual. And I wish you the very best of luck.

Craft page-turning suspense

Packed with secret symbols and high-stakes suspense, Dan Brown’s thrillers have sold more than 250 million copies and include one of the world’s best-selling novels, The Da Vinci Code. In his writing class, Dan unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Dan Brown is an amazing teacher. Super inspiring. Makes me want to start right away!

Dan Brown's teaching style was both captivating and incredibly clear! I found each lesson increasingly helpful and inspiring. Thank you, Masterclass, for including his presence here!

Well, I feel a number of new dimensions have been revealed to me - I feel enormous gratitude to the creator sof the course and the author, the instructor. Now, I am going to go through the course again and make sure it becomes part of my working knowledge....

Love Dan's style of writing, and will use many of his page turning ideas in building my manuscripts.



I have a master's degree in literature and have published in aviation journals. Wanting to bridge that gap, I listened intently to Dan Brown's expertise, took notes, and contemplated what I learned. Which was so much more than I learned in grad school. Thank you for your honesty, insight, and willingness to share.


I took one class every morning before settling down to work on my screenplay. It was like having a friendly, candid and encouraging tutor help set me up for the day, saying 'Keep going. You're on the right track. You can do this!' Thank you Dan Brown.


This Masterclass was absolutely incredible! I've learned so much about thrillers, about how to pace them and make them suspenseful. Dan Brown is a very experienced writer who definitely has a lot to teach us, newer writers. Thank you, Mr. Brown, for all your great advice, knowledge and motivation! I will definitely recommend this Masterclass!

Josh B.

This was the best Masterclass I have taken thus far. I also took the Aaron Sorkin one which is how I got into Masterclass in the first place. As an aspiring screenwriter and author, I could not have asked for a better pair. This one has helped me so much with my process and I cannot wait to see what the results will be.

A fellow student

I have already written a couple of chapters and it was great to hear that I am on the right path with a few minor tweaks! Thanks for the motivation and inspiration to keep going!

Rafa T.

I loved it. It really helped me go through my own process and evolve it in my novel, to understand the elements to how create tension on my story and to reconnect to myself as a writer. Thanks from the bottom of my heart Dan Brown you are a crack!

Adrian B.

Dan Brown is an good teacher with some interesting insights. Great to get an idea of what's involved in writing fiction and I enjoyed listening to some of Dan's stories about writing. Many Thanks.

Andrea B.

Dan Brown is the best writing teacher ever! His tips and his suggestions are priceless. Trust in yourself, be tough in the process, persist and you'll reach your goal. Thank you Dan, when I have achieved success, we'll have a beer together... Thank you again Dan Brown and thank you Masterclass!

Alex D.

Great short course, lots of god tips. Dan Brown is a fantastic teacher you can tell.

Adaliah B.

It was a perfect presentation. I learned so much in just a few presentations. Thank you!